Norma Dene Thomas, age 90, of Centerville departed for her heavenly home February 10, 2018 from Mill Pond Retirement Community and Care Center in Ankeny, IA. Norma Dene was born on the family farm in Exline, IA on August 1, 1927, she is the daughter of Verl and Marvel (Withrow) Perkins.
Norma Dene attended country schools and then Exline school as a young girl. She walked to and from the farm to get to school in Exline each day until her father bought her a horse that she named Trixie, which made her trips to and from school easier. When it was time to enter high school, Norma Dene moved to Centerville with her sister Mary Lou where they shared an apartment while attending school. Norma Dene graduated from Centerville High School with the class of 1945. After graduating from high school, she worked for a brief time at the telephone company. She married Steve E. Thomas, Jr. on November 28, 1947 and settled into her role as a homemaker. Norma Dene and Steve had two daughters together, but they later divorced, and he preceded her in death on November 9, 2000.
Norma Dene was an active member of the Exline Christian Church. She enjoyed reading, gardening, and cooking, but most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family. Before moving to Centerville, Norma Dene lived in Exline, where she tended several gardens and canned numerous pints of various vegetables each year for her family to enjoy during the winter months. She raised several types of American Kennel Club breed dogs, and tended to several milk cows that allowed her to provide fresh milk, cream and cottage cheese for her family. Norma Dene always enjoyed attending sporting events for her two granddaughters and was known for always having Raymond’s phone number handy for ordering a tenderloin sandwich or a sweet treat after a game. She loved to enjoy pizza from George and Nick’s with her family and would always comment “this is a good one”.
Norma Dene cared deeply for her family, her friends and her neighbors. She was always ready and willing to lend a helping hand or express her care and compassion, whether it was through a note of encouragement or a covered dish during times of bereavement or illness. Norma Dene was an amazing cook and was well known by her family for her delicious pot roast, meat loaf and her famous parsley potatoes. Norma Dene loved birds of all kinds, and anxiously awaited each spring to see if the Jenny Wren would return to build a nest in her wren house.
The family members left to cherish their memories of Norma Dene include her two daughters, Gail Lockridge (David) of Russell, IA and Sue Davis of Kissimmee, FL; two granddaughters, Erin Johnson (Wesley) of Ames, IA and Amy Swigart (Chris) of State Center, IA; five great grandchildren, Abigail, Lucille, and Kenneth Johnson and Joe and Mya Swigart; one sister, Donna Lee Bailey (Wendell) of Lincoln, NE; and three nephews Butch (Becky) Morrow of Centerville, Tim (Cynthe) Bailey of Lincoln, NE, and Scott Bailey of Lincoln, NE. She is preceded in death by her parents Verl and Marvel Perkins; her sister, Mary Lou Morrow and her nephew, David Morrow.
Memorial services will be held at 2:00pm on Friday, February 16, 2018 at the Lange Funeral Home in Centerville, IA with Pastor Kay Singley officiating. Interment will follow at the Zoar Cemetery in Exline. A visitation will also be held at the Lange Funeral Home on Thursday, February 15, 2018 with the family present from 5 to 7pm. Memorials have been established to either the Zoar Cemetery Association or the Alzheimer’s Association in Norma Dene’s honor. Memorials may be left at or mailed to the Lange Funeral Home, 1900 S. 18th Street, Centerville, IA 52544 or online at www.alz.org (Alzheimer's Association). Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.